Tag Archives: burrata

New Restaurant Opening: Little Park

8 Apr

We made a bucket list of things we wanted to do before the baby comes, and eating at Little Park was high on it.  I read a lot about it, but the article that put it on the Baby Bucket List came from New York Magazine.   We, too, had enjoyed Andrew Carmellini‘s other restaurants (The Dutch, Lafayette, Bar Primi, Locanda Verde, etc) and there was something about the NYMag review that got me excited.  This line really stuck out in my mind: “But as one polished little dish succeeds the next, the sense you get is that, with all these popular trends covered, this talented chef is taking the time, at long last, to cook for himself.”


The restaurant itself is very blonde, with light colored wood throughout and an open, welcoming vibe.


The menu is diverse, with many tempting dishes.

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The bread and butter set a nice start to the meal, with attention to detail and not just an afterthought.


The part of the menu we started with was from “winter vegetables” and as we sampled our way through many of them.  And not one made me miss meat (which is rare).



We started with the butternut squash with Vermont burrata and nasturtium (edible flower blossoms).  This was a novel take on familiar flavors and felt comforting yet fresh.


We also tried the fried local cauliflower with pistachio and herbs.  This was so lightly fried so it was crisp but not at all greasy.  The pistachio and herbs made it bright and fresh.


On the recommendation of our waiter, we tried the roasted sunchoke with hazelnut and black trumpet.  This was so earthy and tasted like something you would only get if your best friend were a master chef.


And since we love our brussels sprouts, we had to try these crispy brussels sprouts with smoked parsnip and apples.  This was a great balance of sweet with hearty flavors and was a very satisfying, original version of brussels.



From the pasta portion of the menu, we chose the black kale ravioli with squash and pine nuts.  I’m so-so on kale. I get that it’s healthy, and I love me some kale chips, but usually I find it a bit too bitter and something I really only order when I’m making an effort to be healthy (not spoil myself with a gourmet meal). But this was an excellent ravioli.  All the right flavors and textures and the pasta itself was fresh and fantastic.





We split a main of the dry-aged duck and kebab with turnips and pomegranate. This was some of the best cooked duck I’ve ever had, and the parsnip puree was incredibly flavorful with a great texture.  but that kebab (hidden under the leaf in the back of this picture) was special.  An all around awesome dish.



For dessert, we got the frozen lemon fluff with honey-lemon sorbet.


This was such a bright and sunshiney dish.  It sparkled and the tart sour was excellently balanced with sweet.  A really great way to end the meal.


But the dessert that really made this meal a home run was the cinnamon toast ice cream. It came with croutons and the ice cream tasted just like cinnamon toast crunch (if it were made by a well experienced pastry chef).  A nostalgic flavor in a refined dessert.  Excellent.


We really loved our meal at Little Park. I was impressed all along the way and each dish felt a bit special, different, and fun.  I enjoyed every dish and can’t wait to go back.

Total Nom Points: 8 out of 10

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19 Feb

We are working on our pre-baby bucket list, and some of the list (who are we kidding??? MOST of the list) includes visiting restaurants that we have been meaning to go to for some time or new restaurants that are getting a lot of good press.

Upland was high on the list after hearing numerous great things. The only reservation I could find was for 5:30 on a Friday, but that worked out perfectly since we had tickets to see an Off Broadway Show later that eve.

Upland is a Stephen Starr restaurant (most famous for his hits in Philly) and is cheffed by Justin Smillie.

The entrance is a beautiful (and slightly eerie… kind of reminded me of organs in jars for some reason) set of shelves with preserved lemons in it.


The inside echoes the nicely lit decor with the bar and more preserved lemons in the back.


Here is the menu from the day we visited:


We started with a lovely loaf of bread.


We ordered the whole crispy mushroom, which was a hen of the wood mushroom with cloumage + herbs.  This was a beautiful hunk of fungi.  It was totally crisped and a really delicious mushroom on the inside.  But there was one thing that it unabashedly reminded Mike and me of… Pot.

This mushroom tasted like pot.

I don’t know if it was the earthiness or the smokiness, but I was a bit nervous we would leave hungrier than when we arrived.


We also ordered the burrata with trout caviar, crispy leeks + arbequina olive oil.


This was so fresh and so flavorful.  The caviar was salty, the burrata creamy, and the leeks crispy. Loved this dish.


Our next dish was the slow roasted celeriac with black truffle butter and sea salt. See all those light colored shavings in the photo below? That’s truffle butter. And it was insanely good.  The celeriac was all the right richness and the truffle butter was an excellent compliment.


We then tried the roasted short rib (for two) which, apparently, is one of Chef Smillie’s signature dishes.  It came with castelvetrano olives, walnuts, celery + horseradish.  I love short ribs so much that I actually chose this even though it came with the 2 things I don’t like (celery and horseradish).

This slab of meat was served trimmed from the bone (though still displayed with it) and was the size of a football.


I enjoyed the meat very much, though I left the celery and horse radish for Mike. I was especially fond of the pairing with walnuts, which was unexpected. I haven’t had a slab of short rib this big, and I have to say I enjoy short ribs slow cooked and smaller, but I can see why this was a signature dish.  Very (black) peppery on top.


For dessert, I was tempted by the pecan pie, which was delicious. It wasn’t too sweet and it held together perfectly.  A really great end to the meal.


I was very impressed with Upland. Did I think it was the best restaurant opening of 2014… well… probably not. But it was very enjoyable and I would go back in a heartbeat.  I especially want to try the pastas.

Total Nom Points: 8 out of 10

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